The “Steps” Center for Child Development is a Church-related organization (NGO), founded in 2015, by the Coptic Orthodox Church in Bethlehem. It is a health center for children and families. It deals with all kinds of emotional, psychological and psychiatric problems. Patients receive individual therapy, preventive and therapeutic services (psychodynamic, behavioral, special education and play therapy), as well as family therapy and group therapy.
The major focus of the center is to provide educational, health, developmental and psychological support for children who suffer from psychological problems and other related learning disabilities. We provide a wide range of services for children in areas of Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Pronunciation Deficiency. Additionally, we also provide comprehensive services in the areas of child neurology and child developmental disorders. The service is provided by experts in behavioral science and psychology, at the same time, offering unique services in areas of diagnosis, and Psychological-behavioral therapy. All these services are complemented by offering assessment of children’s mental capacity and diagnosis of behavioral deficiencies.
The idea behind establishing the center emerged as a result of the psycho-social problems which Palestinians are facing, the increasing number of people who need support, and most importantly, the difficulties that people are facing to get services. This has resulted in a majority of people with mental and learning disabilities living in West Bank areas.
Further problems specific to these areas affect the disabled community due to lack of access to services (politically instigated) and infrastructure. It is of note that these necessary services are readily available in Jerusalem and even covered by health insurance; however, clients in the West Bank cannot access these services due to the fact that they don’t have permits to Jerusalem. Furthermore, they face an arduous and often unsuccessful process each time they apply for permits which is costly in time, effort and organization of their own transportation to the West Bank checkpoints and beyond. The checkpoint process is itself notorious for extremely long and tiring waiting hours and inspection.